Marketers Need Communications and Communicators Need Marketing


From time to time, practitioners in the field of marketing and communications get into a debate about the differences between marketing and communications and more importantly, about which takes prominence in an organization. First, let’s look at terminology. In order to clarify things, the term communications is somewhat of a misnomer. The field of endeavour is actually called “public relations” but a number of years ago, public relations became somewhat pejorative and fell out of favour. As a result, public relations organizations, especially in government and the nonprofit sectors, started calling what they do “communications”. For the purposes of this article and because of this shift, the term communications will be used.

There’s always been some degree of tension and competition between communications and marketing practitioners, especially when it comes to questions about which discipline ought to be dominant or which contributed more to their organization’s well-being. They also compete for scarce internal resources and for public attention. Some organizations use only one of these disciplines. Others use both. The degree to which they use them, and the specific ways in which they use them varies from organization to organization based on their purpose, size, and history.

Introduction of Marketing into the Public and Nonprofit Sectors

The concept of marketing in the public and nonprofit sectors was a bit of a late-comer. Marketing, up until the early nineties, was mostly associated with business. However, public sector and nonprofit marketing has become, in recent years, a burgeoning field.

For more information, see Judith Madill’s article in OptimumMarketing in Government or Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) article in Optimum The Case for Marketing in the Public Sector. There are also textbooks on both nonprofit and public sector marketing e.g. Kotler and Lee’s book on Public Sector Marketing and Andreasen and Kotler‘s book on Strategic Nonprofit Marketing .

Marketing vs. Communications

If an organization is a public sector or nonprofit organization and sees its primary goal as serving the public, then communications tends to be the more dominant function because building relationships with its publics is its over-riding concern. Most public sector/nonprofit organizations have a communications group or team, involved in public information, community relations, media relations, issues management, community and public affairs and in recent years social media engagement.

On the other hand, if you are a for-profit organization and your focus is the generation of sales, communications tends to be of secondary importance and is normally conducted to support and enhance marketing efforts. In a small company, there might not be a separate and identifiable communications group at all. In a medium to large corporation, you definitely have a good size marketing group with a smaller communications function.

Marketing in a for-profit generates sales of goods and services and directly contributes to the company’s profitability while communications coordinates relationships with various publics in order to gain public acceptance and approval of the company’s activities, including its sales activities.

Many people – even marketing and communication pros – find it difficult to distinguish marketing from communications. Some actually think they’re basically the same thing. Others, especially in the public sector, think that marketing could be useful as an arm of government engaged in selling products and services or involved in social marketing for behaviour change, but do not see the value-added that marketing can bring to the strategic communications function.

Adding to the confusion is the emersion of social media. The revolutionary, user-generated content has softened the formerly strict boundaries between marketing and communications.

Despite the confusion, there are important differences between marketing and communications. The following is a helpful, albeit non-exhaustive, list.

  • Focus. In general, marketing focuses on selling products and services. In the public and nonprofit sectors, it is also used for revenue generation, behaviour change campaigns, selling ideas, programs, and policies, while communications tend to focus on building relationships with various publics.
  • Function. Both marketing and communications are management functions. The two serve different purposes; however, in the private sector, marketing is a line function that directly contributes to an organization’s bottom line. Communications, on the other hand, tends to be a staff function that indirectly supports an organization’s goals and objectives. While in the public and nonprofit sector, we have the exact opposite where marketing usually comes under the communications function, although not always.
  • Target. Marketing’s target tends to focus on the customer/client/end-user. Marketers strive to meet the needs of the customer demands while communications target a range of publics and goals that collectively support an organization’s objectives. Examples of these publics (or stakeholders) include customers/clients/members, the media, employees, suppliers, the community, political leaders and various associations/organizations depending on the topic area.
  • Carry-over benefits. Communications’ major focus is to contribute to organizational success by building and maintaining a positive social, and political environment. Studies show a target audiences’ favorable perception – shaped by positive, well-placed news coverage (likely generated by communications) – benefits and “lifts” an organization’s marketing strategy.

Both marketing and communications play substantive roles in accomplishing corporate goals and objectives. Savvy leaders should learn – and appropriately integrate – marketing and communications into their corporate strategies to better achieve organizational success.

The lines between marketing and communications blur through social media, it’s possible that the fields will continue to have more and more overlaps and similarities. Organizations are using their Twitter streams and Facebook pages to both market themselves and carefully craft consumer perceptions. While media releases and marketing campaigns still show the differences between the two subjects, the new shiny mediums are blending the two together, complementing each other and making organizations more efficient and effective.

 In a Forbes article practitioners were asked to distinguish marketing and communications. Here’s what some marketing and communications-area experts said

Marketing is more proactive while communications tends to be a bit more reactive. Communications kicks in if there is news to report, a public relations crisis, a community that needs outreach, or a new product/service/program to promote. Marketing can help create responses that communications can then respond to.

The purpose of communications is to build relationships with all stakeholders – not just current and potential customers.  Communications smoothes the way.  It creates a favorable operating climate in which it is easier to market, expand and be viable. As marketing guru Al Ries says, PR lights the fire, marketing fans the flames.

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Communications is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics.

All forms of communication should be integrated together – and that includes how you answer the phone, sign off on your email, post to Twitter and Facebook, etc. Communication and marketing should involve all available tools. Service to the public should also be considered part of your overall communications and marketing because if it sucks, nothing else that you say matters.

Effective marketers constantly think from the customer’s / client’s viewpoint and constantly ask, ‘”What’s in it for them?” and then listen with respect to what they say. That’s especially true for public sector and nonprofit marketers i.e.why should someone support your government program or policy or your nonprofit with money or in-kind support or promote your message or buy your products and services?

The truth is, you can’t market without doing a little communication, and you can’t do communications without a little marketing. The end goals—selling products, services, programs, policies or ideas and making people love your organization—are too intertwined: If what you are marketing is poorly conceived, your organization probably won’t be viewed favorably by the public, and if people aren’t connecting with your overall brand, they’re probably not going to buy what you are selling.


Value of Marketing to the Communications Function

To be sure, marketing, when done properly, starts with the audience and works back to a message that will motivate action. The assumption is that if you want someone to take an action, like buying your product, service, idea, policy or program or changing behaviour you need to appeal to THEIR needs vs. your own. You’re trying to gain mind share with an audience absolutely overloaded with information. If you want to own real estate in their brain, you better make your message all about them.

Just as important, a good marketing campaign needs to incorporate messaging that deals with a competitive landscape, taking into consideration that your audience has choices. If you want to excel, differentiation – how you are different from the others – is critical and a key element of branding (for more information see my blog on branding).

One of the factors that leads to a disdain for the marketing function in a nonprofit or public sector organization is ignorance. “Our good work will sell itself” is one of the many delusional beliefs that inhibits nonprofit and public sector organizations from incorporating marketing into their communication function.

Public sector and nonprofit organizations can and should learn something from business. Many companies have started and failed because they believed their brilliance or product excellence would sell itself. It just isn’t true.

Every organization, no matter the sector, struggles with exactly the same things:

  • How to make people aware of their existence
  • How to make people aware of why they should care about their existence
  • How to get people to take action to achieve a goal or mission

In the nonprofit sector, these cannot be achieved by a communication strategy alone. You are competing for the attention of your audience amongst organizations with a similar cause or a different cause, and distractions caused by the challenges of every day life including but not limited to work, family, friends and hobbies.

Effective marketing principles will help you compete effectively for the attention you desire and deserve by helping you to:

  • Better understand the current position you hold within the minds of the audience(s) you want to reach
  • Craft a complete marketing communication strategy around the needs of those you want to pay attention and/or take action
  • Encourage sponsorship by appealing to the needs of those businesses that serve the same communities you do

There is a strong need to educate senior managers in the public and nonprofit sectors about the value and applicability of strategic marketing management principles. This requires recognition across all levels of management of the value of marketing, both in terms of the potential impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of programs, services and outreach campaigns, as well as the benefits to their audiences.

Within the public and nonprofit sectors, there is wide recognition of the role and value of the communications function and many organizations develop communications plans outside of a marketing framework. This can be explained by the lack of understanding by public sector and nonprofit organizations of the value marketing brings to the communications function. There is clearly an opportunity to broaden the communications function in these organizations to include a strategic marketing mandate thereby re-positioning it as an expanded role and stretching the impact of communications efforts.

Marketing can be used to achieve the vision of better informing and engaging audiences by viewing communications within a broader strategic marketing framework. It can help to drive results in program uptake, program impact and behavioural change. And it can save money by helping executives and program/service managers make informed decisions around investment in their communication resources.

Many in the public and nonprofit sectors identify marketing with selling products, programs or services, or promotion and advertising. Others see the value of social marketing to change attitudes and behaviours. It is true that marketing can assist in generating revenue within these sectors or succeed in changing behaviours, but it can also be a useful paradigm for improving relationships with clients and the publics with whom these sectors interact.

Marketing as a discipline can be beneficial to the public and nonprofit sectors for the following four reasons:

  1. Existing and potential clients are guaranteed to play a major role in developing and implementing a program/product/service;
  2. All program elements are focused on behaviour change instead of settling for awareness alone;
  3. Initiatives tailored to specific segments of the market as opposed to the general public ensure efficient use of limited resources; and,
  4. The application of 4 Ps (product, price, place & promotion) will always ensure that the campaign will move beyond just communications / promotion to being developed strategically for specific audiences.

As both the public and nonprofit sectors continue to try to meet the challenges associated with demands for better and improved service delivery as well as new services and programs with budgetary constraints, new and different models of management and their associated tools and tactics need to be considered to help both sectors deliver more quality, speed, efficiency, and convenience to their audiences. Marketing presents a comprehensive, integrated and innovative approach from which to manage communications resources. The time has come for leaders in both the public and nonprofit sectors to recognize and embrace the lexicon and practice of strategic marketing in their sectors.

Jim Mintz is the Managing Partner of the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing where he presently works with a number of public sector and nonprofit clients.


Jim Mintz, Managing Partner / Senior Consultant

Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (

Tel: 343-291-1131  Direct: 613-291-1137 Mobile: 613-298-4549

Let’s connect on Twitter @jimmintz  Linkedin  Facebook 

Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM)

The Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing (CEPSM) offers strategic marketing and communications consulting services developed specifically for governments, non-profits, and associations. CEPSM has an exceptionally strong core senior consulting team that is complemented by a world class network of associates and partner organizations.

Marketing Workshops Spring 2017

Marketing 101 (for Marketers and Non-Marketers)

March 29, 2017

343 Preston Street, Ottawa, ON,

This workshop will provide participants with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing. The workshop will teach participants how to develop a marketing  strategy and plan as well as how to transform a government/nonprofit organizations from using the traditional communications approach to an integrated, strategic marketing approach.

The workshop will focus on:

  • An overview of marketing;
  • Systematic processes and strategic elements for developing and implementing an action-oriented strategic marketing plan;
  • How to set realistic, practical marketing objectives and goals;
  • How to evaluate marketing efforts with practical ideas on how to improve execution;
  • How to develop a client-based mindset in a public sector or non-profit organization;
  • How to use market research to support a decision-making framework;
  • How to develop a system for measuring progress and monitoring performance.



Marketing workbooks for Public Sector & Non-Profit Marketers & Communicators


Social Marketing Planning to Change Attitudes and Behaviours Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program to change attitudes and behaviours. This content is the result of more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena.  It helps public sector, non-profit organizations and associations involved in marketing, communications, public awareness/education and outreach.

It will be very relevant to those responsible for influencing attitudes and behaviours to improve health, prevent injuries and diseases, protect the environment, prepare citizens for emergencies, convince youth to stay in school, and a multitude of today’s critical issues.

The workbook guides users through the process for creating a customized social marketing plan for their organization that will lead to successful implementation. It also features ideas on how to run a campaign on a very tight budget and the effective use of a logic model to monitor and evaluate your organization’s social marketing initiative. Conference site

To purchase workbook go to

Order Now and You’ll receive a PDF download immediately!


Alternatively, you can register on our MARCOM Conference site to attend an upcoming Introduction to Social Marketing Planning for Behaviour Change Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of the course

Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook

The world of public sector and nonprofit marketing is rapidly changing. Increasing demands are being placed on managers to adapt to their new environments. The public and nonprofit sectors are adopting marketing approaches to help meet the challenges of complex and difficult mandates and satisfying client needs in the face of significantly diminishing resources.

The need for highly-skilled public sector and nonprofit marketing professionals continues to escalate. These are the people who must effectively bring their organization’s products, services and messages to the marketplace and bring efficiency, rigorous analysis and inspiration to the marketing process. Marketing is proving to be an effective management tool for guiding the evolutionary business processes for government departments, public sector agencies, nonprofit organizations and associations.

This workbook will provide you with an overview of public sector and nonprofit marketing and highlight the importance of market research to support a decision-making framework. Included will be the exploration of the strategic elements of a marketing plan and how to transform organizations from using the traditional communications approach to an integrated, strategic marketing approach. We will also look at branding which is an integral component in designing the marketing mix.

To purchase workbook, go to

How Will I Receive the Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook?

Order Now and you will receive a PDF download immediately!

Alternatively, you can register on our Training Page to attend an upcoming Marketing  101 Workshop where we offer the workbook as part of the course.

About the Author: Jim Mintz a marketing veteran with over 30 years of experience is the Managing Partner of the Centre of Excellence for Public Sector Marketing





Review of Marketing Predictions for The Coming Year and Beyond

The coming year will see many innovations and changes in marketing. I have recently surfed the web and checked into Marketing Prof and here are some of the key marketing predictions for the coming year and beyond.



When you hear the word “design,” what comes to mind? Graphic design? Websites? Print? Uber?! Uber is a logistics company that has tapped into the design world to make your life easier and make you feel special. You don’t need cash, you don’t have to tip, and you can call everything from a sedan to a limo. Its customer experience is designed to take into account that we now carry our mobile phones more than we do cash. It understands we like to ride in clean, comfortable cars, and that we want a car to come when you need it—whenever and wherever. That is what sets Uber apart—its ease of use and elegance of design. In 2016, customers are going to expect you to recognize their needs and demonstrate that you know them. They want tailored online shopping experiences and apps that auto-populate content of interest to them. In short, customers are growing accustomed to being recognized as humans and demanding experiences designed with their humanity in mind. Source

At a time when consumers demand instant gratification, marketers must more deeply engage each customer to build advocacy. The key is cognitive commerce. This will enable marketers to gain insights into a vast collection of information and possibilities, understand what individuals really want and what they are saying, get a line of sight into their unique personalities, how they respond to different messages and much more. With this deeper level of insight marketers can identify patterns and make unlikely connections that allow them to engage consumers in highly personalized in context conversations.


Studies have shown that only 14% of people trust traditional advertising, and yet 78% of us trust our peers for recommendations. According to Edelman Trust Barometer, employees’ voices have more power than CEOs in the digital bazaar.  Leading brands are investing resources to create a workforce of engaged brand ambassadors.  The result is a win/win. The company benefits from more authentic communication, and employees build personal brands.  At the core of this approach is trust, authenticity, and transparency—the cultural pillars essential for activating the workforce around social business best practices. The net result: “Branding from the inside out.”


Virtual reality technology, like Oculus Rift, will inevitably have a huge impact on the way that marketers engage consumers in 2016. One of the biggest keys to marketing, especially to Millennials, is personalization. With the ability to literally tell 360-degree stories, companies will be able to engage like never before. The media and marketing world has gone through an increasing rate of change, with the explosion of new channels, new devices and entirely new formats arriving on a weekly basis to create massive new opportunities, complexity and headaches for marketers. But those changes will be nothing compared to what is about to hit us on the TV landscape. The arrival of VR (virtual reality) in 2016, combined with a major explosion of streaming and the death of old world distribution models will unleash a new age of what we used to call “TV”. Adoption of VR in 2016 and beyond will undoubtedly cause some kind of shift in marketing ideology.

It’s easy to get caught up in the new-fanged tech trends that allow us to connect more seamlessly with our consumers, but to what end?  If you don’t have the basics of your brand and business mastered, the best social media campaign in the world won’t save you.  First, know what you stand for.  Whether your company calls it a Purpose, Point of Difference, Proposition, or Master Equity, know how you’re different from competitors and drive that message home.  Second, while content may be king, context is queen.  Make sure you marry your message with your medium.

The next frontier for marketing teams is finding cohesive alignment with their data science counterparts. Although traditionally thought of as two totally different animals―analytical number-crunchers vs. message-obsessed creative types―both groups serve a brand’s goal of deeply understanding the customer persona. In the new world of data-driven content and advertising, data science and marketing must operate as a coordinated unit, with predictive analytics driving targeted communication with consumers. Data is the rocket fuel for marketing’s future.

2016 will be the year of the great data exchange between consumers and marketers – and this will prove dangerous for marketers that don’t catch on. People want something more in return for the information they give to organizations, and it has to be meaningful to them. This particularly rings true with Millennials and Generation Z, who are much more inclined to share their data such as mobile numbers, lifestyle information and email addresses with brands. Savvy marketers will understand this and those who will be winning will be the ones who can provide personalized and meaningful experiences beyond just financial incentives to earn lifelong loyalty.

Marketers place great value on understanding buyer intent so they can present the most effective messages or calls-to-action on the Web. For a long time, though, gleaning intent from visitors’ browsing behavior and actually acting on it was just a pipe dream. That’s no longer the case, as technology can now interpret behavioral data in real time and instantly deliver a relevant message, recommendation or experience at the 1:1 level – and we’ll see marketers capitalize on these capabilities more in the year ahead. Newer systems even incorporate machine-based learning and response automation, helping unlock the full potential of intent-based marketing.

facebook-live-header2-644x250All signs point to video. Whether it’s Facebook Live, video on Twitter, Periscope, Blab, Instagram, Vine, or the old standby YouTube, this will be the year when video becomes a primary content marketing consideration for all brands–even B2B.This is partially because the customer appetite for video is insatiable, and it’s the most efficient way to atomize content marketing. Video will continue to drive marketing and be used even more in advertising. Live streaming will continue to grow and apps like Blab and Periscope will continue to gain market share.  Source

Add-me-on-Snapchat-itsjayebmf16Snapchat is already moving into the space of a “standard marketing platform.” In the upcoming year, marketers will come to understand that Snapchat isn’t just a tool for fun marketing experiments; it’s a platform that users are flocking to in order to digest social media in real time. In order to deliver integrated campaigns that make constituents feel connected, especially the Millennials you need to be offering exclusive content that has an expiration date. This “less is more,” or ephemeral, marketing is all about communication that’s shorter and more to the point. In a world where people have less and less time, this model works. Snapchat is the ultimate platform for making consumers feel connected and at the same time, unique. Take advantage of this huge opportunity to connect uniquely using just a small window of your audience’s time. Be organic, speak their language, and just cut to the chase.

With Facebook already working on tests for its own search engine, it seems inevitable that search capabilities will go far beyond Google, Bing, and Yahoo. As search capabilities improve within social media, brands will get an automatic boost. In addition, when buy buttons and payment messaging appear on social media in 2016, an all-in-one-type platform will manifest (more convergence). With advanced search capabilities, integrated payment methods, and the social impact that empowers sites like Facebook and Twitter, consumers will be able to make purchases, chat with their friends about what they bought, and post the social proof of their new purchase. Advanced search will bring a more integrated social experience that expands to the e-commerce realm. If you cater your marketing efforts to this all-in-one, buy-and-share social media search, it’s clear you will realize returns. Make the buying process easier, but also make it an experience.

wearable-techWearable technology will see a user adoption rate of 28 percent by 2016 – even more data for marketers to mine. So, will this data be derived from people’s day-to-day habits? It looks that way. Every year from now until the foreseeable future, we’ll see the it become a bigger tool that marketers can use to engage with customers. Source

quora_111638114155_640x360Quora is an online knowledge market, and currently it isn’t used that much. However, it gets a ton of traffic, and content creators are able to get the same, if not more, exposure on Quora as earned media from a typical publication owing to Quora’s prebuilt audience and how its algorithm for its feed works.



A Case of Marketing not Working- Dairy Farmers of Canada

Most Canadians drink milk or eat yogurt or cheese, however, Statistics Canada’s recently released data on retail sales show that per capita consumption of milk in Canada has fallen by 18 per cent to 74 litres a year between 1995 and 2014. Taking into account population growth, Canadians consumed approximately 20 million litres less milk in just one year, between 2013 and 2014.

The decline is so striking that the Dairy Farmers of Canada commissioned a survey to find out why milk drinkers are ditching it in droves. The survey comprised 6,800 Canadian households and has some enlightening findings.

The two age demographics to see the greatest decline in milk drinking? Middle-aged empty nesters, who reported almost completely dropping milk, and families with children under the age of 12, who comprised a surprising one-quarter of the decline. The reason? A revealing 10 per cent of non-milk drinkers stated they had gone vegan — a word almost unheard of just a few years ago. Eight per cent said they no longer wanted to support an industry whose practices they regarded as cruel.

This may be surprising to some, but the reality is that the recent rise in food prices has eroded the food industry’s impenetrability. More consumers are feeling that they are part of the value chain and can vote with their food purchases. Our collective awakening has been spectacular and has caught many by surprise, including the dairy sector. Both distributors and processors have been exposed to market pressures for years. Now, these systemic pressures are catching up to primary production. And yes, that would include dairy farmers.

Milk consumption is facing many headwinds that dairy, admittedly, cannot change.

For one, demographics are generally working against the sector. Like many other industrialized countries, Canada is getting older. In fact, Canada has more than five million consumers who are 65 or older. With many boomers coming of age and converting to empty nesting, that group will either reduce its consumption of milk or outright eliminate milk from its diet altogether.

Then there is ethnicity. Canada welcomes many immigrants from parts of the world where milk is not perceived as a food staple, as it is here. Milk is essentially a luxury product for many emerging markets. When migrants come to Canada, they bring along culinary traditions that often don’t include milk. As new Canadians settle in and support future generations, these traditions can only negatively influence domestic dairy consumption.

Another phenomenon hitting the dairy sector particularly hard is the rise of veganism. The Dairy Farmers of Canada  noticed in their survey that a surprisingly significant portion of the drop is due to consumers who believe that industrial farming practices are unethical. Even if this movement remains marginal, it would be a mistake for the dairy sector to not consider animal welfare as an important issue moving forward.

We can always drink more milk and consume more dairy products to meet our daily recommended servings, suggested by the Canada’s Food Guide. But looking at the ensemble of systemic pressures, a strategy purely based on “selling” milk, like the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s “Get Enough” campaign, is simply silly. Year after year, dairy farmers spend millions in advertising just to reinforce the fact that we need to drink our milk, as per capita consumption has continued to decline. Few agricultural groups can afford such a lavish campaign.

Here is the ad. Get Enough – Milk 2015

Talking about flogging a dead horse or should I say cow, you would think the dairy folks would change their strategy but they continue to use strategies that are clearly not working.

The Dairy Farmers of Canada seem convinced that if they just throw enough money into advertising, they can shove these horrors back under the rug. The national policy, lobbying and promotional organization spends an estimated $80-$100 million each year on promotion and advertising, including TV, magazine, social networking and YouTube ads, national in-store media campaigns, and video and banner ads on websites such as Allrecipes and

This on top of the less savoury co-opting of over 1,500 foodie bloggers, maintaining over 26 public websites that promote dairy consumption, and cultivating sponsorship agreements that push milk into the hands of marathoners.

Remember those kids under 12 whose families don’t want them drinking milk? The Dairy Farmers of Canada lobby them heavily away from their homes by installing milk drink machines in their schools, encouraging participation in World Milk Day which instructs kids to drink milk every day, and hitting up their teachers by supplying curriculum-based teaching materials and giving free teacher workshops.



Never mind that there’s no truth to the claim. In fact, a study recently published in the British Medical Journal tracked 61,000 women and 45,000 men for a whopping 20 years and found that high milk intake (i.e. three or more glasses of milk a day — as the Dairy Farmers of Canada recommend in their 26 websites) was linked to higher mortality in some men and women. For women, consumption of milk was also associated with an increased risk of sustaining a fracture.

Despite the fear-mongering and the tens of millions spent to peddle dairy, the Canadian public can now see the dairy industry for what it is. And no amount of advertising will make them “un-see” it.

A significant shift is needed in how milk is marketed in Canada. We have seen some innovation from the Dairy folks but not nearly enough. Most new products have been developed to respond to supply-focused needs and relied on a push-driven strategy. Better analytics, better research and more market-based innovation can only lead to more prosperity for the sector. Clearly a new strategy is required for the marketing of milk in Canada!





Marketing Articles to Read this Summer

Summer is a good time to catch up on your reading. Here are 11 articles on marketing which should keep you up to date on some very important developments in the world of marketing.  Trying reading them while enjoying your favourite beverage.


4 Tips for Adopting a Customer-Centric Mindset

If you’re taking an integrated marketing approach, your customers need to be driving the decisions your company makes.

Otherwise, your brand could risk becoming irrelevant—or, worse, offensive—to your audience.

When customers are embedded in your DNA—from customer service to marketing to product design—you start to think from their perspective. As a result, you gain insights into not only what you could do but also what you should do as a company.

By harnessing your customers’ wants and needs and infusing that knowledge into every marketing decision, you can establish lifelong relationships that will inevitably grow your business.

The customer-centric mindset is actually similar to a brand-centric one—it just starts with the customer rather than the brand.

The Idea Generation Formula: How to Consistently Deliver Great Ideas

Ideas are the lifeblood of any content marketing campaign. Without new ideas, campaigns—no matter what their aims—will quickly become stagnant. But creating ideas can be hard.

No doubt your team are full of creativity, but producing actionable ideas that can achieve your objectives is the hard part. In this article Ben Harper who is a co-founder of Datify, a data-driven content marketing agency discusses how to keep your brand ahead by consistently delivering winning ideas over the long term. The three main stages of that process are:

  • Idea generation
  • Idea evaluation
  • Campaign creation

How Survey Research Can Aid in PR and Marketing Planning

This article by Lynda B Starr suggests “If you haven’t asked the question, how you will know the answer?” That old saying is a pithy summation of the rationale behind conducting a survey to find out information about your customers.

Survey research, however, is not as simple as asking questions: The right questions must be asked of the right people. You must first determine what information you want to collect, which then guides you to choosing which questions to ask, how to ask them, and of whom.

The article discusses when conducting a survey is appropriate; and offers some tips on survey design; and explores how to incorporate survey results into PR and marketing activities.

Stop Focusing On Your Brand’s Social Media Posting, Here’s What You Should Be Focusing On Instead

Jordan Con states that owned social (what your brand posts) as a powerful business driver is a thing of the past. If anything has been made clear over the last few years, it’s that organic reach on social isn’t guaranteed. Only the biggest publishers are seeing significant organic reach, and it’s because they have deals with Facebook.

Clamoring about the best ways to marginally increase your organic reach is short-sighted. The social networks can change their algorithms or cut it off completely at their discretion. When you play on someone else’s platform, you don’t get the luxury of control.

He provides seven things that you should be focusing on instead.

The Four Principles of a Better #Digital Brief Social Media Marketing

This article by Jeff Roach discusses how to get the best out of your digital marketing department and digital agencies. You want digital marketing that makes an emotional connection with consumers, propels your brand across technology platforms, and engages audiences in digital channels with real value to your brand.

He feels that most briefs are simply too long, too specific, and too tactical. The inspired digital creative—the work that connects with audiences, propels fandom, builds brands in the digital world—doesn’t start with a technology mandatory or an app-vs.-website specificity.

His agency looked at their history of writing briefs and working with brands all over the world, and they distilled their observations into a set of simple, applicable guidelines that can help any marketer create a better digital brief and gives four principles that will lead to better digital briefs.

2 Million Blog Posts Are Written Every Day, Here’s How You Can Stand Out

If you are creating 500-word me-too blog posts that get read by no one, you are completely and absolutely wasting your time. According to Puranjay Singh it’s not your fault. You’ve been told by so-called experts for years that if you blog consistently, you will see truckloads of traffic, thousands of subscribers, and millions of dollars in sales. The thing is, a lot of these experts cut their teeth in the early years of the Web, when 500-word blog posts could win you fame and fortune. If you’re serious about standing out from the 2 million blog posts pumped out every day, he provides advice on what you need to start doing.

The Key to Successful Positioning: ‘3 Cs’ Research

Lawson Abinanti feels that Positioning shouldn’t be left to chance. Unless you do your research, your message to the market has almost no chance of getting through and hitting the mark.

This article explains why you must understand the 3 Cs of successful positioning—your customer, channel, and competition—as well as how to understand your B2B product, service, solution, or company. And it offers suggestions for how to go about it.

One reason organizations fail to thoroughly research the 3 Cs is that they don’t have time to do it: It can take weeks.

One way to speed up the process is to start with your channel: how you sell—direct or through partners, or both.

16 Free Marketing Tactics for Promoting Your Business

Tommy Laundry points out that with all the talk about bootstrapping and growth hacking, it has become clear that more marketers want to self-fund their businesses at least in the early stages of building them out. In the old days, you mostly had to pay to advertise for any marketing benefits to come your way. Today, we have a wider range of paid and free options available to us. Since many of us want to start out with no or low cost options in the early going, we should all be aware of what we might do to move the needle without budget. Tommy provides 16 things to promote your own business.

Seven Tips for Developing Good, Relevant, and Actually Interesting Content

Sarah Bricker states that content is not always easy to write; in fact, depending on the topic or the industry, it can be downright difficult. Throughout their careers, marketers will experience a variety of clients—B2B, B2C (including e-commerce), and special interest clients from an array of industries. Each requires unique content, and each has specific strategies or presentation elements they consider good and bad.

When developing content, you need to consider a few things:

  • Products or services most desired by consumers may change month to month or season to season.
  • Content is built for the long term and the short term.
  • Consumers will read it only if they can understand it, and fast.

She provides seven helpful tips for developing relevant, engaging, and creative content.

How Consumers Find and Use Mobile Apps

Most consumers first hear about mobile apps from friends and family, according to a recent report from Google and Ipsos.

The report was based on data from an online survey conducted in September 2014 of 8,470 people age 18-64. Respondents were asked about how they find, buy, and use smartphone applications.

Some 52% of respondents say they usually become aware of mobile apps from friends and family. Other common discovery methods are app stores (40%), search engines (27%), company websites (24%), and television (22%).

Marketers’ Biggest Social Media Challenges Social Media Marketing

Marketers say measuring ROI is the biggest challenge they face with their social media efforts, according to a recent report from Simply Measured and TrustRadius.

The report was based on data from a survey of nearly 600 social media practitioners that was conducted in February and March 2015.

Some 60% of respondents say measuring ROI is one of the most challenging aspects of their social program; other top challenges include tying social activities to business outcomes (50% cite), developing a social media strategy (48%), and securing enough internal resources (40%).

Why Email Marketing Beats Social Media in Lead Generation, And What You Can Do About It

Social media has many legitimate marketing uses. When used right, social lets you build a genuine relationship with your customers. It helps you find out what people are saying about your brand and it enables you to share interesting content with your audience. Regardless of whether they’re in B2B or B2C, most businesses today can’t afford not to have a social media presence.

But there’s one thing that social media isn’t great for: lead generation. Social media works effectively for many marketing activities, but generating new leads isn’t one of them. In fact, when it comes to generating leads, the good ol’ email will always beat social media. One 2014 study from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company suggests that email conversion rates are 40 times higher compared to Facebook and Twitter combined. “The rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher,” according to the report.

An understanding of its drawbacks as a lead gen tool is critical to getting the most out of social media marketing. So why is email, a relatively old channel, better suited for generating leads?


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